Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you require to play is a few grids, some numbers, and a pencil. For many individuals, a Sudoku puzzle book is a relaxing way to pass the hours. It’s an added perk that it’s good for your brain.
It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to deal with mental decline. But there are other means of delaying cognitive decline. At times, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have shown that hearing aids may be capable of filling that role.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulus, neural pathways will fizzle. That’s the reason why Sudoku tends to keep you mentally active: it forces your brain to think, to creatively make and strengthen numerous neural pathways.
While a certain amount of mental decline is a normal part of aging, there are some factors that can accelerate or worsen that decline. A really potent hazard for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. Two things happen that powerfully impact your brain when your hearing begins to go:
- You can’t hear as well: There’s not as much sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing center of the brain). This can cause changes in your brain (in some circumstances, for example, your brain starts to prioritize visual stimuli; but that’s not true for everyone). These changes have been connected to an increased danger of mental decline.
- You don’t go out as much: Untreated hearing loss can cause some individuals to self-isolate in an unhealthy way. Staying in to escape conversations may seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (especially as your neglected hearing loss progresses). But this is not a good idea as it can deprive your brain of that necessary stimulation.
Put together, these two things can cause a major change in your brain. Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and eventually an increased danger of dementia have been linked to this kind of mental decline.
Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So, this mental decline takes place because your hearing loss is going untreated. And it’s fairly clear what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. For most people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.
The amount that hearing aids can slow cognitive decline is both unexpected and well-substantiated. Around 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were surveyed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, over 97% said that their cognitive decline either stabilized or reversed.
That’s an almost universal improvement, just from wearing hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Stimulation is key to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably beneficial. This area of your brain will stay healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with assistance from hearing aids).
- One of the primary functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And your brain stays more engaged when you are social. It’s easier (and more enjoyable) to talk with your friends when you can follow the conversation!
Sudoko is Still a Good Idea
This new study from the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, many studies have revealed that wearing hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and just aren’t aware of it. You may not even notice the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a little spacier than usual, it might be worth talking with your hearing specialist.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and involved in numerous different ways can help broaden the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Working your brain out and staying mentally fit can be assisted by both hearing aids and brain games.